WUFT News

The Complete Timeline Of Gainesville’s Homeless Shelter Saga

By on November 13th, 2013
The site of Gainesville's former prison and proposed homeless shelter, as seen in a June 2013 file photo.

Kasey Greenhalgh / WUFT News

The site of Gainesville's former prison and proposed homeless shelter, as seen in a June 2013 file photo.

The idea of  a homeless center was born eight years ago alongside an ambitious plan to end homelessness in Gainesville.

It was called the Gainesville Region/Alachua County Empowerment for the homeless — shortened to GRACE — and it outlined a plan among the city and other local organizations to end homelessness in Gainesville within the next 10 years.

One of the program’s most specific goals was to have a single center where homeless men and women could seek help. They could go to the center for a meal, job training, medical exams and other services meant to attack homelessness at its roots.

That was in 2005.

Nearly nine years later, the center is in its final stages. Since about 2007, when the city and county officially agreed to create the center, finding a location was a slow-burning problem. During the past eight years, the city has settled on and shaken off three different locations, acquiring lawsuits along the way.

The following timeline shows the progression from the genesis of center to today, with the city offering about $900,000 for all of the buildings in the Gainesville Correctional Institution. The city waits for the state to accept the offer on Nov. 19  so it can begin renovations and offer services.

In the meantime, the number of homeless men and women in Alachua County has steadily risen: From 2012 to 2013, the number of homeless men and women increased by 313, according to the latest Alachua County Homeless Census. In 2011, Gainesville was ranked No. 2 in the increase of homeless population among smaller cities, according to a 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Despite the lengthy struggle to find a location for the shelter, City Commissioner Todd Chase, who suggested the current site for the center, said the issue of the center has had the unanimous support of the city and county commission and local state legislators.

“Of any issue I’ve seen in my two and a half years in office,” he said, “this is the only issue that I can tell you I have seen 100-percent unanimous support on from all our elected officials.”

Rochelle Alleyne, Rebecca Kopelman, and Abbey Taub contributed reporting.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

BqcMUJ0CcAAuJrS

2 Shot at Apartment Complex, Police Find Suspect Dead

Update 8:30 p.m.: GPD has reported that Gerald Hall has been apprehended. Updates as they are available. Earlier: Update 10 a.m., June 19: GPD is now seeking another suspect in the shooting. Gerald Hall, 43, is wanted for questioning for [...]


For The Women Released After Arrest of CPA, Recovery Just Beginning

A well-known Alachua County accountant has been charged with three counts of human trafficking for keeping women in captivity, offering drugs in exchange for sex and house cleaning.


Group Expanding Investigation into GRU Fee Tax

Seniors vs. Crime is now looking into taxes on gas and water surcharges collected by Gainesville Regional Utilities. The group was previously only investigating a complaint about a tax on electric customer charges collected by GRU.


The fee controversy centers on whether the 10 percent municipality tax should be assessed on the electric customer charge. See the complete GRU bill breakdown.

City Responds to GRU Complaint on Fee Tax

The City Attorney and attorney representing Gainesville Regional Utilities have concluded the tax on the electric customer charge is justified.


The new Fisher House located at 5106 NW 8th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32605. Just across the street from the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center

New Fisher House will Provide Lodging to Veterans’ Families

The new Fisher House in Gainesville will allow families of veterans undergoing treatment at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center a place of comfort during treatment.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments